College students seek natural remedies in essential oils

Erika Glover and Erika Glover

Many would say the fear of vaccines and over-the-counter drugs has led to individuals seeking relief from holistic home remedies: essential oils.

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center describes essential oils as “highly-concentrated, steam-distilled or cold-pressed extracts of almost any part of a plant, such as seeds, flowers, fruit, leaves, stems and roots.”

According to a study done by Grand View Research, “The U.S. essential oil market size was valued at USD 3.36 billion in 2015 and is expected to witness an estimated growth rate of 9.0% from 2016 to 2024.”

With that information, one might understand why many feel the essential oils realm is a good business to be in.

Senior communications major and marketing minor Lexi Maupin is part of that business. She said essential oils have become a daily part of her life but not because of the income.

“I think that essential oils show you the importance of valuing you and your family’s wellness. Know better, do better,” Maupin said.

Maupin sells essential oils through Young Living. Young living is a company whose purpose, according to their website, is to “honor our stewardship to champion nature’s living energy, essential oils, by fostering a community of healing and discovery while inspiring individuals to wellness, purpose, and abundance.”

Research shows these values are held by more than just the company, however, as college students and families all over are using these holistic oils to aid their wellness.

Sophomore social work major at University of Cincinnati, Emily Daniel, said, “I have a heart condition that restricts me from taking nearly 300 medications. About three years ago, I started using eucalyptus as a replacement for the cold medicines I couldn’t take and lavender as a way to relieve pain and fall asleep.”

After learning the benefits of other essential oils, she now uses tea tree oil as an antiseptic and other essential oils in accordance with western medicine practice. Her reason for using essential oils resonates well with the company’s mission statement.

“I have also seen it be beneficial to my mental health. I use essential oils to relax, relieve stress, and to focus,” Daniel said.

Daniel is among the many young people today who are turning to essential oils for health benefits beyond over-the-counter drugs.

Junior international public health major at University of Cincinnati Gretchen Shisler said she has been using essential oils since she was a freshman in high school.

“I would rub them on my skin, especially eucalyptus or lavender when I had a headache. I got an oil diffuser two years ago and that is when I started to explore more about essential oils and the benefits they provide,” Shisler said.

Though she supports the use of essential oils, she warns of the dangers of trusting them too much.

“I know people that swear by essential oils claiming that it will stop you from feeling sick or totally prevent a disease entirely, which is completely wrong,” Shisler said. “I think if you use them for treating major illnesses you should definitely use them in conjunction with western medicine because it is not meant for curing diseases.”

Many use oils aromatically in diffusers, topically as toners, rollers or serums, and internally, with the help of recipes.

Essential oils provide a natural alternative to more than just medicine, however. Many individuals are turning to oils to replace cleaning supplies and beauty products.

Maupin said to her “the most important thing about essential oils is the power it gives you in deciding what products you put in and on your body.”

She now makes her own body wash, face wash, toner, serums, cleaning products, pillow sprays and more.

“I’ve been able to ditch so many harmful chemicals and ingredients because of essential oils,” she said. “These are chemicals that you don’t even realize are disrupting your health and body until you remove them from your routines. People don’t realize the effects that ‘fragrance’ and dye can have on your hormones.”

College students will likely grow to continue using these holistic remedies in their homes, research shows. Jodie Blackburn, a mother of three, including a student at Ohio State University, said her family uses oils every day.

“We use them daily whether in a diffuser at home or at the office, directly applied to the skin or mixed with baking soda for a chemical free cleaning experience,” Blackburn said. “Our family has used them to reduce the length of colds and viruses, to help with nerve pain, allergies, ear aches and headaches, to heal skin abrasions, help with focus, moods and sleep.”

With the combination of the essential oils market booming and people choosing to not vaccinate, these natural remedies are being implemented in the daily lives of people of all ages.